Now, any individual can get themselves tested for COVID-19 on-demand and no emergency procedure (including deliveries) should be delayed due to lack of test, the Union Health Ministry has said in an updated advisory on COVID-19 testing.
The National Task Force on COVID-19 recommended several amendments in the strategy for COVID-19 testing in India. Experts have simplified the testing procedure and approved "on-demand" testing for the first time.
The advisory states: "Testing on demand for all individuals who wish to get themselves tested and undertaking travel to countries/Indian states mandating a negative COVID-19 test at the point of entry. For this, State governments to decide simplified modalities," adding that tracking and contact tracing mechanisms should be ensured by the testing laboratories by notifying the public health authorities.
In Hospital settings, no emergency procedure (including deliveries) should be delayed for lack of test. However, samples can be sent for testing if a patient is symptomatic or asymptomatic. Pregnant women should not be referred for a lack of testing facility. All arrangements should be made to collect and transfer samples to testing facilities, stated the fresh advisory.
"Mothers who test positive for COVID-19 should be advised to wear a mask and undertake frequent handwashing while handling their baby for 14 days. They should also be advised on breast cleaning before feeding the neonate. These measures are likely to reduce transmission of COVID-19 to their babies.
Routine surveillance in containment zones and screening at points of entry for all symptomatic (ILI symptoms) cases has to be done including health care workers and frontline workers. "Testing for all asymptomatic direct and high-risk contacts (in family and workplace, elderly >= 65 years of age, immune-compromised, those with co-morbidities etc.) of a laboratory-confirmed case to be tested once between day 5 and day 10 of coming into contact. All asymptomatic high-risk individuals (elderly >= 65 years of age, those with co-morbidities etc.) in containment zones should undergo testing," it said.
The advisory further stated that in non-containment areas routine surveillance has to be continued with testing for all symptomatic (ILI symptoms) individuals with a history of international travel in the last 14 days. "All symptomatic (ILI symptoms) contacts of a laboratory-confirmed case, symptomatic health care workers/frontline workers involved in containment and mitigation activities and all symptomatic ILI cases among returnees and migrants within 7 days of illness should be screened and tested."
Since the beginning of the pandemic, a total of 4 crores and 77 lakh tests have been done so far across the country. In the last 24 hours, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has conducted at least 10,59,346 tests.There are now 1647 testing laboratories operational which cover all States/UTs. It comprises 833 Real-Time RT PCR labs, TrueNat based testing labs are 689 and 121 are CBNAAT based testing labs.
So far the country has reported over 4 million coronavirus cases and 69,561 deaths across the nation.
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